The WWF, the renowned NGO, released an interesting paper on this meaning of providing drinkable in large quantities and according to them, it is not a perfect solution.
Nowadays, worldwide countries are getting drinkable water via the treatment of sea water. Among those countries, we currently find the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain in Europe or Australia.
Furthermore, it is estimated that around 60 percent of freshwater needs in the Arabian Gulf are met through desalination.
According to the NGO :
“Desalinating the sea is an expensive, energy-intensive and greenhouse gas emitting way to get water,” says Jamie Pittock, Director of WWF’s Global Freshwater Programme.
“It may have a place in the world’s future freshwater supplies but regions still have cheaper, better and complementary ways to supply water that are less risky to the environment.”
To make a long story short, and if I understood well the paper, countries can rely on desalination with parcymony and once they worked on using groundwater in a sustainable way. Indeed, the WWF notes :
Managing water demand and assessing impacts of any large-scale engineering solution are needed early in order to avert irreversible damage to nature and the cost overruns, often paid by citizens over the long haul. Sustainable sources of water start with protecting natural assets such as rivers, floodplains and wetlands.
However, the demand for such equipments is currently booming and this explosing demand is increasing even faster than forecasted. As an example, the People’s Republic of China plans to get three million cubic meters of drinkable water from the sea per day by 2020.
Such plans are judged alarming as using such an energy intensive solution might increase greenhouse gases emissions. It could also endanger directly or indirectly local seas.
If you are interested in that subject, I recommend you download the WWF full report, “Desalination – option or distraction for a thirsty world?“
Article en Français sur Actu-Environnement.com :
” Le WWF rappelle la nécessité d’une utilisation raisonnée du dessalement de l’eau de mer“